Hanna (2011): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

hanna movie posterIn one corner we have, Hanna, a 16 year old assassin, hidden away and trained by The Incredible Hulk in the frozen Finnish wilderness! She is erudite! She is dangerous! She is blonde and her eyes are very blue! She fits into very small spaces!

AAAAAAAAnd…in the other corner we have, ruthless CIA operative Marissa Wiegler! She has a gun and a whole army of goons in flak jackets as well as a fabulous german sociopath and his skinhead sidekicks!


This film starts out with some breathtaking action sequences (the escape from Camp G is particularly fun to watch) and introduces some fascinating characters. Joe Wright does an awesome job keeping the plot moving whilst keeping you intrigued.

Debs G recommends: Watch this movie with Joss Whedon’s Serenity for an evening of badass teen girls beating up a whole bunch of dudes.

P.S. Find Hanna here.

Mr Fluffy will Kill You: Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Screenshot 2014-09-25 22.29.00

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  What is Mesothelioma, you ask?  Well…

Up until the early 1990s, asbestos saw good use as an insulating material in Australian homes.  Back then, the deadly characteristics of asbestos were not well known and the material was considered useful because of its flexibility, tensile strength, chemical inertness and, of course, its low price.  The stuff was readily available in its natural form in the environment and natural stuff couldn’t be bad for you, could it?

Well, it turns out that asbestos is not only bad for you, it’s pretty darn deadly.  Asbestos fibres are tiny and easily inhalable.  Since asbestos is basically a sort of rock fluff made of tiny rock filaments, the fibres are both sharp, straight and hard.  So, when they’re breathed in, they lodge into the lung, causing irritation, inflammation and scarring, usually over a long period of time.  There is no cure for asbestosis.  Once you breathe the stuff in, it’s there to stay.

It gets worse, of course, because asbestos inhalation can also mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that affects the membrane between the lungs and the abdomen.  It, too, cannot be cured.

Both asbestosis and mesothelioma are easily preventable.  You just have to, like, not breathe in any asbestos.  Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.  Although the import, use and reuse of asbestos was banned in Australia in 2013, about 1 in 3 homes still harbour the stuff.  Over a 1000 homes still contain Mr Fluffy brand asbestos roof filling and more are being found every day.  Some unscrupulous contractors have taken to illegally dumping the stuff, or covering up asbestos insulation with normal insulation in the hopes that people won’t notice.

Thankfully, you can get your house tested for asbestos, and you should particularly if your house was renovated or built before 1990.  You can do that by visiting the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and doing a search for asbestos or by calling them on 1800 621 666.  If you do find, or suspect that there’s asbestos in your workplace, you should contact the Department of Health.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Get your house tested and let’s put asbestosis and mesothelioma behind us forever.

Rock down to electric avenue (with Bodytec Singapore – and an awesome giveaway!)

So it’s been several months since I started exercising with Bodytec Singapore (you can read about my experience here), and I figured that it was time for an update!

All wired up

All wired up

I am pleased to let you know that after several sessions with Bodytec Singapore, I have noticed the following changes:

  1. I feel generally much more energetic, and less sluggish during my week.
  2. My posture has improved and I am experiencing less backache at the end of the day.
  3. I have definitely toned up and am looking noticeably healthier. In fact, several of my relatives have commented on my apparent weight loss (I say ‘apparent’ because I haven’t actually lost physical weight, however, I because I am trimmer all round, I am noticeably slimmer).
  4. I am much stronger. This is most obvious when I’m trying to carry a sleeping Little E on one shoulder whilst juggling 5 large bags of groceries in my other hand.
  5. I fit well into my skinny jeans. SKINNY JEANS!!!

I really want to thank Bodytec Singapore for a wonderful fitness experience. I can hardly believe how fast I started to see results!

Anyhow, I enjoyed my experience with Bodytec so much, that I really wanted to share it with all of you folk out there in cyberspace…and so…

A Special Something for Owls Well Readers: Bodytec Singapore is most generously sponsoring a giveaway of 12 fitness sessions to one lucky Owls Well Reader! Woohoo!

To take part in this awesome giveaway, all you have to do is:

1. Be a fan of the Owl Well Facebook Page

2. Head over to the Bodytec Singapore website and then leave a comment below telling me ONE interesting thing that you have learned and why you think this will be helpful to you. Don’t forget to include your email address! (If you would like to send me the email address privately, leave a comment for the other answers, then email me at 4owlswell [at] gmail [dot] com)

(Giveaway is open to readers in Singapore and will end at midnight on 30th Sept 2014. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete all 2 easy steps!)

Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been emailed. Thanks for playing!

Controlling the Vertical and Horizontal

If you’re wondering where Debs has been this past week, she’s been indisposed.  Apparently, Little E brought home one of those kindergarten flus and now everyone in the G household is down for the count, Debs particularly badly.

Thankfully, I, A Becky Lee, have been spared from this plague by sheer virtue of being the only person in the family sensible enough to have returned to Australia before it started.  Go me!

Which brings us to the following conversation (paraphrased by me)…

A Becky Lee: Hey Debs, you look very sick.  Mind if I take over the blog for a while?

Debs:  (Face down on a couch) Murgle. (Translation: Yes, do whatever you want.)

A Becky Lee:  Does this mean that I can do whatever I want on the blog with impunity?

Debs:  (Face down on a couch) Murgle. (Translation: Of course, my beautiful sister.)

A Becky Lee:  May I also have your Playstation 4?

Debs:  (Face down on a couch) Murgle. (Translation: Help yourself to it, I am always generous with my family.)

A Becky Lee:  Hooray!

So there you have it, my friends, the inmate has been given the key to the asylum and I intend to make the best of my opportunity.  I’ll be taking charge of the blog for the next few weeks while Debs recovers and may be making some exciting announcements while I’m at it!

Stay tuned!

PS.  Debs, I’m taking the Playstation 4 the next time I visit!

The High Tea Crowd: Episode 1 – Mad Hatter at the Westin

It was with great pleasure that I convened the first meeting of the High Tea Crowd at The Bar in the Westin Sydney.  In attendance were a number of fine young women, myself and the Southern Boobook.  Being that one of our party went by the name of Lacey[1], we decided that it was suitable to order the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, a whimsical Alice in Wonderland themed high tea – cakes shaped like top hats and stopwatches and small themed sandwiches.

A delicious array of sweet and treats... and raspberry tea!

A delicious array of sweet and treats… and raspberry tea!

The good folk at the Westin cater very well to allergies so long as you book the tea in advance.  I was pleasantly surprised to note that their method of catering to allergies does not reduce the amount or quality of food served[2]!  The Westin arranged for specially cooked foods to replace items that could not be eaten, baking a cake specially for one of our party suffering from a citrus allergy and replacing another’s crab sandwiches with chicken sandwiches.  I found that this personal approach to food service very refreshing and I expect that I shall hold all future meals accountable to the same standards.

Dashedly good really

Dashedly good really

The cakes were very lovely.  I particularly enjoyed the Queen of Hearts raspberry cake, which paired the raspberry and chocolate flavours expertly.  The Mad Hatter’s Hat, while lovely to look at, was a little bit dry underneath a rather cardboard-like tasteless fondant.  The sandwiches were an absolute delight, with the Tweedledum and Tweedledee paired sandwiches really stealing the show.  I did manage to force down the salad, which as salads go, was still palatable[3] especially with the sauce.

After our platters were cleaned, we were served with the most delicious steaming hot scones with fresh strawberry jam, a dark chocolate raspberry sauce, clotted cream, honey and many other delicious accoutrements.  The scones were scrumptious, just the perfect combination of a crunchy exterior and fluffy interior.  Unfortunately, I was unable to furnish you, my lovely sister, with photographs of said scones, as they were consumed within seconds of touching our plates.  We had two each.

Conversation was kept at a fairly delightful banter and limited to discussion of such life events as new careers, the raising of children, upcoming nuptials, the inanities and importance of television programmes like Sex in the City, womens’ sufferage, old friends and other such frivolities.

All in all, a delightful afternoon tea and one I should want to try again.

[1] Lacey being the very same nickname that the infamous Lewis Carrol gave to his young friend, Alice Liddell.

[2] All too often restaurants engage in the truly tiresome habit of either refusing service to those of us afflicted with allergies or else denying us certain foods in a set meal while still insisting on full payment despite the reduction.

[3] Salad and greens being what food eats.

Dying of Depression

The following post has been placed behind a cut because of its frank discussion of depression and suicide, which may upset some readers.  Owls Well Blogs urges its readers to seek help if they are suffering or know someone who is suffering from depression.  Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute have very useful online resources to help with dealing with depression, whether you’re suffering from it or know someone who is.

If you have been thinking about suicide, please seek immediate help.  In Australia, you can call Lifeline at 13 11 14.  In Singapore, call the Samaritans of Singapore at 1800 221 4444.  You do not have to suffer alone.

Continue reading

Two Weekend Itineraries!

It’s the end of the September school holidays and if you are running out of ideas as to what you can do with the family this weekend, here are two itineraries for you!

ITINERARY #1: Fire and rescue!

1. Start out the day with a trip to your local fire station! Every single Fire Station in Singapore has an Open House from 9-11am on Saturdays, and tours usually start at 9:30am. You get a chance to play with all the equipment, interact with the firefighters and even try on the uniform! It’s pretty cool!

2. If you can, visit the Central Fire Station which houses the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery. This gallery showcases the history and development of the Singapore Civil Defence Forces and has a brilliant display of old firefighting equipment and vehicles as well as details of major fire events from Singapore’s history. The gallery is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am -5pm, and if you are organised enough, you might even score yourself a free guided tour.

Planes-fire-rescue3. Finish off the day with a movie! The new Disney’s Planes 2: Fire and Rescue is a brilliant tribute to firefighters and portrays the day-to-day bravery of the Fire and Rescue teams that work together in a seamless fashion to keep the public safe, and the movie really brings home the importance of fire safety.

The kids and I were on the edge of our seats the entire time, in this action packed sequel, especially when watching the various vehicles – helicopters, planes and smokejumpers – all rally round to contain wildfires in the beautifully rendered Piston Peak National Park.

I was especially impressed with how Dusty Crophopper (the hero of Disney’s Planes) learns how to temper his stubborn pride (which helped him to achieve his goals in the previous film) with humility during the course of the film. Definitely a great learning point for kids.

Itinerary #2: Bubbles!

1. Experiment with your kids by making these awesome giant soap bubbles! Mix up the bubble solution with the kids at home, then bring them outside for a ton of fun with science! Bring straws of various sizes, plastic cups, twine tied to sticks and even coat hangers wrapped in twine to blow different sized bubbles.

13993867996282. Bring the kids for a wonderful afternoon at Pep Bou’s Bubble Magic, which is on until the 14th September at Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel. The kids and I had the opportunity to watch this wonderful production this week, and it was truly wonderful entertainment for all the family.

We just couldn’t stop laughing at actor’s antics and we were absolutely awed by the bubbles which seemed to morph into all sorts of fanciful things. A simple bubble became an ice-cream, a snow-ball, a giant amoeba, a rainbow – well, basically anything you could possibly imagine!

3. End the day with a fun and relaxing bubble bath set to music! I like to crank up the music real loud and let the kids splash around. If you want to make it super fun, stop by Lush cosmetics and get hold of one of their bath bombs. It smells great and the kids will LOVE it, trust me.

Chronicle (2012): Thoughts from the Couch (Potato)

Chronicle-2012-Movie-PosterThis is a found footage superhero film so of course EVERYTHING IN IT MUST TRUE, RIGHT?

A trio high school boys (one of whom has an obsession with videorecording everything he does, hence, the movie title Chronicle) find a weird glowing thing in the ground, and BAM! They get awesome telekinetic powers!

And what do they do with their new found powers?

They do not use their powers for good, but for AWESOME!

Movie starts out a little bit ordinary and slow, but soon turns into a badass film that mixes the usual superhero origin story with a drama about a emotionally disturbed teenager.

Brilliant, and of course, it’s found footage right? EVERYTHING IN IT MUST BE TRUE, RIGHT?

P.S. Find Chronicle here

Deep conversations with a 6 year old boy (or, J discovers toilet humour)

Conversation 1: A new version of ‘Think Fast’.

J: Mummy, I have thought of a new game.

Debs: Ok, tell me about it.

J: First, I throw a crumpled up ball of paper in the air and say ‘Catch the poo!’. Then, when my friend catches the paper ball, he will open it up and it will say ‘This is a poo’ on it. Then I will say, ‘You caught the poo! Haha!’

Converstaion 2: A new version of a ‘Dear John letter’

J: Mummy, I’m going to write a letter to my best friend, Mike.

Debs: That’s good. I’ll help you with it later.

J: On the front of the letter, I will write ‘This is a nice letter’. Then when he opens the letter, it will actually say, ‘This is a poo. It has germs on it.’ and I will draw a poo and some bacteria sitting on the poo. Haha!

Debs: Are you sure Mike is going to like that? I’m not sure he’ll like it.

J: (affronted) Of course he will like it! It’s SCIENCE!